Thursday, October 18, 2018
Public safety

Police recover bricks, pipe from Tampa rooftop

TAMPA — Chiropractor Joseph Papia climbed to the roof of his downtown business Friday, scouting the best way to fence off the flat-topped structure before the Republican National Convention.

That's when he noticed a pile of bricks and a stenciled painting of Guy Fawkes next to the number "99."

Police think the bricks — and a pipe discovered Monday — likely would have been used as weapons during next week's convention. They confiscated the items at 1000 N Florida Ave. as evidence and continue to investigate.

"It's disconcerting," police Chief Jane Castor said Tuesday. "But it's not surprising."

Talk has been circulating about similar discoveries, but Castor declined to confirm anything.

This recent discovery, along with a threatening YouTube video posted last week, hint at some of the problems Tampa could see next week.

In the video, a person in a Guy Fawkes mask — a symbol of revolution that Anonymous and the Occupy movement have used — promises these groups will be "fighting for freedom" next week. They are not pacifists, a distorted female voice states.

"It is a fact that the flowers and holding up signs stopped working long ago," she says. Historically violent groups expected at the RNC include Anonbloc and Black Bloc. The woman tells the public not to be afraid. These groups will not harm private citizens, she says.

But Tampa police Assistant Chief John Bennett said the video's tone is threatening and could dissuade peaceful protesters from going downtown next week. "This sense of fear is an inhibitor to free speech," he said.

Meanwhile, Papia said he hopes other businesses will check their roofs. Castor encouraged business owners to call police if they see anything suspicious.

Papia thinks anarchists probably planned to throw the bricks down at passing motorists on Tyler Street, which will be open to traffic. His business, near the newly renovated Floridan Hotel, is nearly a dozen blocks from the established protest zone.

"It is not uncommon for groups, especially those that want to disrupt or commit specific crimes, to do so away from the organized demonstrations," Castor said.

Police are prepared, she said. And so is Papia. He has finalized plans to fence off his roof this week.

Then, he says, he's getting out of town.

Times staff writer Richard Danielson contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3433.

Comments
In Clearwater handicap parking space case, prosecutors want to include shooter’s prior confrontation

In Clearwater handicap parking space case, prosecutors want to include shooter’s prior confrontation

In the case of the fatal shooting of Markeis McGlockton, prosecutors this week formally expressed their intent to use as evidence a prior encounter between Michael Drejka and a man who parked in the same handicap parking space.A motion filed in court...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Tampa mom arrested after baby’s death blamed on cocaine exposure

Tampa mom arrested after baby’s death blamed on cocaine exposure

TAMPA — A mother of three faces a manslaughter charge after investigators said trace amounts of cocaine were found in the blood, soiled diaper and baby bottle nipple of her dead 8-week-old newborn son.Megan Rand, 34, was arrested Tuesday on a felony ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Man, 30, faces murder charges in St. Petersburg double-homicide

Man, 30, faces murder charges in St. Petersburg double-homicide

ST. PETERSBURG — A 30-year-old man was arrested Wednesday on murder charges in the deaths of a man and woman found dead in an alley the day before, according to police.Charles Edward Hixon Jr. faces two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Police: 17-year-old threatened on Facebook to ‘shoot up’ Gibbs High in St. Pete

Police: 17-year-old threatened on Facebook to ‘shoot up’ Gibbs High in St. Pete

A 17-year-old Pinellas Park teen was arrested Wednesday on a felony charge of making written threats to conduct a mass shooting for posting on Facebook that he would "shoot up" a high school if someone liked his post, according to St. Petersburg poli...
Published: 10/17/18
Man steals taser, incapacitates himself and Pasco deputy

Man steals taser, incapacitates himself and Pasco deputy

A man fled from a routine traffic stop in Dade City on Tuesday, leading to a fight with a deputy.
Published: 10/17/18
Port Richey man accused of sexually abusing teenage girl

Port Richey man accused of sexually abusing teenage girl

PORT RICHEY — A 59-year-old man was arrested Tuesday, accused of inappropriately touching a 13-year-old girl multiple times last year, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies say Robert Paul Conrad of Port Richey first assaulted the t...
Published: 10/17/18
Pedestrian, 79, critically injured while crossing U.S. 19 in Clearwater

Pedestrian, 79, critically injured while crossing U.S. 19 in Clearwater

A 79-year-old woman remains in critical condition after being struck by a car on U.S. 19.
Published: 10/17/18
Plant City man arrested, 74-year-old in critical condition after Polk hit-and-run

Plant City man arrested, 74-year-old in critical condition after Polk hit-and-run

Ricky Perez wanted to visit his mother’s grave. On the way back, Polk County deputies said, he nearly sent someone else to their own.
Published: 10/17/18
'The killing has to stop,' Midtown residents say after Tuesday double homicide

'The killing has to stop,' Midtown residents say after Tuesday double homicide

Midtown residents say it's hard to find someone in the neighborhood who hasn't been affected by violence.
Published: 10/16/18
Updated: 10/17/18

St. Petersburg police investigating double-homicide

Midtown residents believe violence is on the rise in their neighborhood.
Published: 10/16/18
Updated: 10/17/18